We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
I greeted, then commented to someone we passed on the trail, "Nice day, isn't it?" He didn't reply to my weather comment, although the drizzle may have altered another person's perception of nice, to be fair. Wearing a sweatshirt and vest, warm socks and boots, a fresh breeze, and noticing the colors changing ever so slightly every day, I had to laugh since the slight drizzle may not have been a crowd pleaser, that was nice for me. And then we headed home with the promise of homemade apple cider donuts (we've made them twice this fall so far and greatly enjoyed them).
A few weeks ago, we celebrated my thirty-first birthday. It came on the tail-end of a few weeks of sickness for our little family, so for the most part, we were easing back into normalcy. It was a Thursday, so Nicholas was working, but Cooper and I visited some dear friends for a morning playdate. Her and her kids made me paleo brownies(!) and sang to me. Cooper said, "Happy birthday, mommy," the first time in my life I've heard those words put together in that order which is sweeter than I can adequately convey.
We picked up our usual BBQ, and I didn't notice until we got home that the bag was a little heavier than usual (so generous!) and the owners and staff wished me a happy birthday. And then Cooper took his first nap in his crib in nearly two weeks, and I sat on the couch.
That night, I had birthday fika of simple cookies and a small slice of almond cake. And much like most nights lately, Nicholas and I, too tired for much else, watched a few back episodes of The Great British Bake Off and fell asleep together on the couch. It felt like a simple and sweet birthday. And then, over the weekend, we celebrated with Nicholas' family and I had some celebratory gluten-free pizza and a seasonal coffee at our favorite local coffee shop.
On a recent day, I took Cooper for a haircut, and then since it was a "big date," as we like to call them, we got smoothies, and then stopped into our local yarn shop. I bought wool wash (Coop's choice) and some yarn to knit him a new winter hat. A day that filled up both of us.
Our weeks have been filled with regular tasks, little house projects, simple fall outings, and some baking. I'm reading through the Little House books again, knitting stitches on a few Christmas gifts in the evenings, the occasional fall drive, taking weekend walks as our family of three, or rainy walks with Cooper, the only ones out, dressed in our rain coats and rain boots, him regularly handing me treasures and saying, "Hold this, mama." This is a favorite time of year for me, or rather, the beginning of a favorite, and this year feels more joy-filled and settled.
He who forgets the humming of the bees among the heather, the cooing of the wood-pigeons in the forest, the song of the birds in the woods, the rippling of rills among the rushes, and the sighing of the wind among the pines, needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy. A day's breathing of fresh air upon the hills, or a few hours, ramble in the beech woods' umbrageous calm, would sweep the cobwebs out of the brain [...] a mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind's face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best. Charles H. Spurgeon
Happy fall to you all!
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.
This year, Christmas was simple and lovely. It can feel natural to rush past it, once December 25th has come and gone. But I want to linger a little, take note of some of my favorite tiny moments. 2020 will have it's own center stage for a full year, after all.